Eligibility. I get a lot of questions about this, but unfortunately, I usually know less about your course than you do. The course catalogue has details about who is eligible to take PSYC 202 and what prerequisites you need. If you have further questions about your eligibility or whether you need to take PSYC 202, please contact your course coordinator or AskUNE.
Textbooks and materials. All plans are subject to change, but for next year I expect to use
Allan, Bennett & Heritage (SPSS Statistics Version 22 A Practical Guide)
Andy Field's textbook Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics.
You will need to be able to use SPSS Statistics.
You will be expected to write reports in APA Style. A copy of the APA publication manual would be handy to have, however, we will cover what you need to know for PSYC 202 in handouts and links and other supplementary material.
If you’re looking to economize, it's not hard to find used copies of Field and of Allan, Bennett & Heritage at reasonable prices. You should be fine with older editions of both books (previous editions of the practical guide are authored by Allan & Bennett, no Heritage). If you buy older editions, I advise you to keep a copy of the table of contents for the current edition handy because any page or chapter numbers I refer to will be for those editions.
For the software, any currently available edition of SPSS is fine for PSYC 202 and it doesn’t matter to me where you get it from.
You will be expected to be able to write reports in APA Style, so a copy of the APA publication manual would be handy to have, however, we will cover what you need to know for PSYC 202 in handouts, links and other supplementary material.
If you’re a psychology student, you will use SPSS and your APA Manual in many other units. The Andy Field text is currently used in PSYC 372/472 as well (though that may change at any time, it's not up to me), so the only material you are buying exclusively for PSYC 202 is the practical guide. Not buying a stats textbook to save a little money seems penny wise but pound foolish to me, given how much you are investing in your education, so I encourage you to view the prescribed materials as an investment in your future as a social or behavioural scientist.
Topics. The Unit Description in the course catalogue is the official word on course content, with additional detail on the moodle site. In general, we will cover thinking like a psychological scientist, examining data, inferring relations and investigating differences. Specific topics may include collecting reliable and valid data, summarizing & graphing data, nonparametric analyses, bivariate correlation & regression, comparing two means using t tests, comparing two or more means using analysis of variance (ANOVA), factorial ANOVA, and analyzing categorical data (i.e., Chi-square).
Assessments and course components. (Subject to change - see the course outline on moodle for more information). There will be graded quizzes, a practical report and a final exam. Lectures and tutorials will help you prepare for assessments.
PSYC 202 Timing. You might be wondering when to take PSYC 202 relative to other T1 units in your course, especially if you are a part time student balancing coursework, job, family, etc. All else being equal, I think sooner is better because it will put you in contact with primary source material and may convince you to get involved in research earlier. Tertiary students have unique and wonderful opportunities to participate in and conduct research and I hope to convince my students to avail themselves of them as much as possible! However, I advise you to take PSYC 202 whenever you are able to devote time to it on a consistent, frequent and regular basis (to the extent that’s ever possible), regardless whether that’s earlier or later in your studies. PSYC 202 shouldn't take up more of your time than other units, but in terms of achieving learning outcomes, the virtue of consistency is more richly rewarded and the dangers of falling behind are more perilous!
For keeners:(informal,Britain,Canada. Someone who is excessivelykeen or eager.) I understand the desire to get a head start. However, don’t feel the need to learn the material in the unit before we cover the material in the unit! The best way to learn the techniques and skills we cover is by using them, which will be easier and less frustrating when you have the activities, materials and support provided on the moodle site and by your instructors and peers. Your patience is appreciated. If I haven't convinced you to hold off, please read my advice for the anxious (you will, anyway).
For the anxious: Lots of psychology students are a bit number- or math-phobic. If you loved statistics above all else, you'd probably be a stats major. Think of statistics like driving a car: most people are not gear heads and very few are intrinsically interested in the rules of the road. Just like you don't have to love engines or road regulations to appreciate what driving allows you to do, I hope you will appreciate statistics because they allow us to answer questions about human behaviour even if you're not in love with equations or APA style. Rest assured PSYC 202 is an introductory course in research methods and statistics for psychology, you will be far from the only student who is a little nervous about working with quantitative data and the unit is designed with beginners in mind! That said, there are a couple things you can do now that I hope will alleviate some of your anxiety. The first is to familiarize yourself with SPSS. Nothing fancy. Don't worry about learning the material before we cover the material. If you can open and close SPSS, open, save and close data files, differentiate between data files and output files and find the help function, you're starting off on the right foot. If trying to do any of that increases rather than decreases your level of frustration, step away from SPSS until you can get help from the instructors and tutors in 202 rather than trying to solve the problem on your own! Even knowing where you get tripped up will be helpful in the long run. The second is to take a look at to take a look at the (free) videos and resources on the introductory page of Andy Field’s website, Statistics Hell. Again, please don't worry about learning the material before we cover the material.